This summer you can escape the bustle of the Cape Town festive bug and venture out to the breathtaking Avondale estate in Paarl. Just an hour out of Cape Town you can experience complete tranquillity with #farmtofork dining in mind. The estate is well known for their certified organic, bio-dynamic and dynamic eco-system that comes together to bring you a premium product. When you put love in, you get love back and that is what the team at Avondale believe in.
Avondale offers a unique experience for wine enthusiasts. Hop on the back of the comfortably seated eco-wine safari and take a guided scenic drive through the vineyards, across the sprawling land and end the tour by the abundant vegetable and herb garden. Along the way, you may be lucky enough to bump into the resident ducks who are responsible for the snail patrol which is one of the natural pest management methods that Avondale has adopted.
These ducks are entrained from young to voluntarily gather in the custom-made ‘duck-mobile’ and go out each weekday in the vineyards to do their work. Happily, they waddle between the vines and forage in the cover crops for snails. They are a highly effective and cost-efficient team who protect us from the damage that snails can do without having to resort to poisonous bait or the organically approved substitutes for snail control. We have learnt from Nature that there are always better alternatives and we are constantly seeking new ways to strengthen our ecosystem as a whole.” – says Madeleine Laarman; Sales & Brand Manager of Avondale.
A scenic meandering drive over to the large stretch of abundant earth that is the outdoor pantry to Faber (Avondale’s resident Restaurant.) Each day, Chef Dale and his team forage for seasonal produce and work with what nature has provided them with, for the most part. There is something very different about eating from the soil around you. The amplitude of leafy greens, cruciferous and root vegetables and the well-loved allium family of onions, garlic and shallots line the veggie patches in neat rows.
With the sun beating down, we gathered under a canopy where the owner’s youngest son, Jonathan Grieve (photographed below,) told us about what inspired him to take up the challenge of transforming this long-used land into a robust, balanced vineyard ecosystem that would ensure that Avondale will support the lives of future generations.
We sipped on fresh lemonade that was squeezed that morning while nibbling on crispy garden-fresh carrots and lettuce cups that were drizzled with a blue cheese sauce and accompanied with a homemade mustard. Pure deliciousness!
Zigzagging through the bountiful gardens, trickling streams and trying to stick to the garden path without foraging for the sweet ripe fruit we saw a heard of Angus cows in the distance. Avondale has around 30 Angus cows which live a happy life grazing through the prolific and lavish grounds with an “egg mobile” just next to them. The 20 odd chickens lay fresh eggs daily which provide the restaurant with endless amounts of freshly prepared mayonnaise, hollandaise etc.
After a detailed tour and seeing how much is put into every detail of the estate, we were taking to the cellar. Where all the hard work on the outside comes to transform into the premium wines that Avondale is so fondly associated with. With their forward-thinking and incredibly innovative, intelligent and rational approach to winemaking; its no wonder that Avondale is recognised for their exceptional wine that does not harm the environment.
Faber restaurant is Chef Dales playground. Dabbling in seasonal, fresh and local ingredients he quite literally has an eco-system as his pantry each and every day which inspires him to create new dishes. Here is an example of the menu; however you can be assured that it changes pretty regularly so you would definitely need to make your way to the estate regularly to taste what this Chef and his team has dreamt up for you.
With exposed woods, light walls and the presence of both hanging and live pant walls; the restaurant makes you feel like the outside is being let in and you can taste that on your plate.
Dinner: Thursday – Saturday: 18h30 – 21h00
33°45’55.92”South x 19°00’04.50”EAST
Lustigan Road, Klein Drakenstein, Paarl, South Africa
Po Box 602, Paarl South, 7624
Phone +27 21 863 1976
You are welcome from:
Monday – Sunday: 10h00 – 16h00 for wine tasting at Avondale
Although I experienced Faber and Avondale on a media day, all opinions are my own. The photographs are the property of LifeWith Me and were taken for the sole purpose of this blog post by Megan Daniels.